Suntory Lifts The Lid Off A New Blend Of Its Legendary Hibiki 21 (& A Host Of Other Goodies)

Suntory Lifts The Lid Off A New Blend Of Its Legendary Hibiki 21 (& A Host Of Other Goodies)

Randy Lai
Randy Lai


Earlier this June, the House of Suntory unveiled two one-off versions of its award-winning Yamazaki 18 and Hakushu 18 whiskies – both in recognition of this year’s company centennial.

Now, the makers of Japan’s first and most highly lauded whisky are continuing their revels: unveiling three further expressions, this time in the Hibiki and Toki collections, in a number of international markets including Australia.

Unlike the two previous ‘Centennial’ bottlings – each of which is made in the single malt style and highlights a particular distillery – these drams are dedications to the art of blending. As such, each consists of a marriage of malts from Hakushu and Yamazaki, in addition to grain whisky sourced from the central Japanese distillery of Chita.

With the end of 2023 now hovering into view, we take a closer look at the ‘100th Anniversary’ editions of Hibiki 21, Hibiki Japanese Harmony, and Suntory Toki. To our thinking, each expresses a different facet of #SuntoryTime, and will prove an inspired addition to your summer celebrations.

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The Hibiki 21Years Old, 100th Anniversary Edition ($$$)

Pictured: The centennial-edition Hibiki 21, aged in mizunara oak, is expected to retail for $8,350.

An occasion unto itself, this special edition of Suntory’s signature Hibiki expression is the highlight of the three new centennial editions.

Originally launched in 1989 – also in commemoration of what was then Suntory’s 90th anniversary – there have been numerous editions of Hibiki 21 over the years. This particular blend (that is to say, the exact ratio of malt and grain whiskies from Suntory’s three core distilleries) is unprecedented.

Shinji Fukuyo, Chief Blender at Suntory, speaks of a quest “to harness the challenging-yet-rewarding characteristics of Japanese mizunara oak”. A variety of wood that is native to Japan, mizunara replaces sherry cask in the latter’s habitual role as the “enhancer” of Hibiki 21, lending flavours of agarwood and a consistent spiced cedar undertone to the final blend.

IncenseSandalwoodRRP $8,350

The Hibiki Japanese Harmony 100th Anniversary Edition ($$)

Pictured: The centennial-edition Hibiki Japanese Harmony, featuring the limited edition Kakehashi packaging, is expected to retail for $460.

Despite the beautiful golden hue of the packaging that surrounds the Hibiki 21, drinkers who desire a bottle with more immediate visual gravitas will also be well-served by ‘Japanese Harmony’.

An illustration depicting the Kakehashi (a bridge that symbolizes Japanese culture’s connection to the past, present, and future) wrap arounds the signature 24-sided Hibiki bottle – itself a now-well-known metaphor for the lunisolar terms in the traditional Japanese calendar.

RoseWhite chocolateSpice
LycheeOrange peelCedar
RosemaryCandied datesRRP $460

Basically the Hibiki collection’s answer to the NAS (‘non-age-statement’) expressions of Yamazaki and Hakushu, Japanese Harmony is blended in a style not dissimilar to what you’ll find in Hibiki 21 – minus that specific maturity.

The ultimate everyday dram, its nose is filled with classic Hibiki scents of rose, lychee, and just a hint of rosemary. The honey-like palate offers impressions of white chocolate and orange peel. And on the finish? A hint of mizunara oak to accompany the smoothness and length drawn from Suntory’s usage of sherry and American oak casks.

Suntory Toki Whisky ($)

Pictured: Toki, Suntory’s most “contemporary” whisky, is offered in a unique gift carton (illustrated by artist Tansetsu Ogino) for this year’s centennial and priced at $79.

Toki (“time” in Japanese) is the most accessible, but by no means unintriguing, piece of the centennial-themed puzzle. A literal distillation of the Suntory concept “tradition reinvented”, it is yet another blended whisky – albeit one that bucks conventional wisdom, by utilising a recipe with equal parts malt and grain.

Often pitched as the entry point into Suntory’s blended universe of whisky, it is an exceptional addition to the classic Japanese highball: adding sensations of green apple, muscat grape, and white pepper to that popular, year-round serve.

Green appleShine muscatWhite pepper
HoneyPeppermintRRP $460

For its 100th anniversary, Suntory has chosen to clad Toki in limited edition packaging inspired by the Japanese craft form of kintsugi. A practice that is well-known among ceramicists, it consists of mending (and improving) broken pottery pieces; by combining these with lacquers dusted in precious metal.

Translated into an illustrated medium, the paper packaging that encloses each special edition Toki is decorated with splashes of primary colour, outlined in traces of gold. More than just a visual abstraction of kintsugi, it expresses the mindset and intention that goes into Suntory’s most approachable premium blend.

Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].



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